So…I realize that almost every DIY blog and craft site out there is currently featuring project after project of fantastic Fall/Halloween ideas! And if I was a little more on top of my game, I would be too.

However, around here, we are still somewhat in our “moving in” phase, working non-stop to get our “new” house to what I consider “baseline.” You know?!? That state in which normal living occurs, where the house is mostly furnished, most walls have things on them, and curtains are hung on every window. Well…even with a busy couple of months, we are FAR from there. And despite my best efforts to get in the festive fall spirit, I am laser-eyed focused on getting this house to our baseline. Until then, my crafty friends, you are stuck with house updates and some not-so-festive posts. But once we do get there, I can pour all my creative energies into holiday decor and fun crafts instead of yard work and curtains.

So what is all this droning on about? Well…even though it’s not springtime, we have been hard at work in our garden. (For whatever reason, our housing community doesn’t do the landscaping for us even though we are all technically renters. I hate to pour so much money and effort into something that won’t come with us when we leave, but we couldn’t handle the dead garden out front of our cute house any longer!) I am super excited to show you what we accomplished in a week of digging, pulling, researching, raking, soil conditioning, shopping, planting, and mulching…

We started here: dead, forgotten plants with yucky, dried up pine straw…

And ended up here…

 The people before us must have sorely neglected this outdoor space. All the plants were sad, and the pine straw was crunchy and gray!

And we can’t blame the previous residents for this one: our pretty red bench sat on the porch all alone with a bunch of sad, empty pots to keep it company. In addition to the sad looking porch, we hated the 1′ concrete step in front of the house. It was time for something to be done!

We figured if we were going to spend the time and money, we wanted to do this right and (hopefully) reap the rewards for the next few years. For an entire week, all we did was dig. Dig, dig, dig. We pulled up all the dead pine straw, dug out all the neglected plants, pulled up the old weed-blocker cloth, and dug out a 2′ garden bed along the front of the porch.

Then we went shopping! We were on the hunt for full-son, deer-resistant stalwart plants (because I tend to neglect plants) and came home with (what felt like) a forest. Henry had such a good time examining each plant as it waited in the garage to be planted!

In a long day of handwork, we had conditioned soil, new weed-blocker cloth down, plants in the ground and mulch top cover. The end result was well worth all the hours digging! We have a nice array of bushes, plants and flowers; and even found a home for our Japanese Rice God that we bought years ago. This is the first time he is in a legitimate garden; he’s so cute!

Along the front of the house, we dug out a new garden bed to partly cover the concrete stoop. It was a ton of work to dig out, but I love the end result. We planted a row of dwarf english boxwoods and some ivy groundcover.

While we were at it, the porch got some re-arranging. By rotating the red bench 90 degrees and moving it to the left side of the porch, we now have a cozy seating area, as well as more play/display space in the center. We added a nice hearty rosemary bush in one of our big planters.

Speaking of furniture, did I ever mention that we got some AMAZING outdoor chairs for our super spacious lawn??? These are Breezesta chairs in the Seafoam color. They were pricey, but we LOVE them. They are made of 100% recycled poly-composite, so they will never rot, fade, chip, etc. And a major bonus: they are super comfortable. I made some cute lower-back pillows to match the cushion on the red bench.

And while we’re talking accessories, over the last few weeks I’ve pulled together some other little projects to “complete” the front porch (for now). A $5 bucket from WalMart was given some yellow vinyl letters and filled with all of He-Man’s outdoor toys. I love having them out so he can help himself, and the bucket matches our decor scheme so it stays on the porch full-time. Having an open bucket like this makes putting toys away at the end of the day a total breeze.

I also changed up my old “fall wreath” with some new fresh flowers to match our outdoor fabric.

I know it’s no longer summer, but our front porch finally has come together. Now I better get crackin’ on getting it ready for Fall…the clock’s a-ticking!

And because I always love a good “before and after” shot…here’s a few shots of our landscaping one week ago (before) and yesterday (after)…

I absolutely love our new front yard and enjoy spending time out there even more now that it looks presentable! Now the key is if we can keep everything alive and the deer away. Fingers crossed!!Megan

See You Soon!